A waking labyrinth,
not like those of my dreams
where I wander through countless rooms
in the old seminary
or endless ruins
in my old neighborhood,
but awake
I seek the archive library
(biblioteca in alto, the key is tagged),
I climb in alto from the third floor elevator
to an ancient room of tomes
which is not my biblioteca
but the precious repository of an Irish friar of ages past.
And so I wander past empty guest rooms
and dusty offices and nooks crammed with books.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! screech the gulls circling
above the outdoor loggia at my folly.
Finally, with head hung,
I admit defeat to the librarian and
armed with new instructions,
of higher knowledge,
climb again to a secret door
truly in alto
where my quarry sleeps—
more boxes
of a dead man’s mail
to burrow through,
seeking his quiet presence,
sensing his knowing smile.